Right, well, it’s been almost a month since my last post and I haven’t really done much in the garden since then. October turned ridiculously busy for me after the first week and I haven’t had time to do as much gardening as I would have liked until yesterday. We had a nice warm spell in the middle of October and I was stuck indoors working instead of outside gardening. Bah. So now I’m catching up and this is a long post.
Anyway, at the beginning of October there was a somewhat cold snap, followed by the aforementioned warm spell. It really extended the garden season by a couple weeks – it even seemed to trick a few things into thinking it was spring again. My white trumpet pitcher (Sarracenia leucophylla ‘Tarnok’) suddenly sprouted a flower bud. Since the plant is only four or five years old, I didn’t even think it was mature enough to flower. I did bring it into the house, hoping the bud would continue to develop and open, but it doesn’t look hopeful. But it was weird.
Also, one of the lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus) pots sprouted a peanut after I brought it inside early in October. By that I mean I found something in the Fabaceae family sprouting in the pot and assumed it was something else – then I pulled it out and it was a peanut plant. Bloody squirrels. I put the seedling in its own pot just to see what will happen. I suspect it will need full sun to do well, but it really isn’t a priority as far as the window space goes.
Yesterday I pulled out the tomato and eggplant plants and finally made a start on organising the garage to hold the potted things that will be overwintered inside it. The pots of turmeric (Cucurmis longa) and ginger (Zingiber officinalis) came in last week. I’ve stopped watering them and when the top growth dries up I will harvest the rhizomes. I will do the same to the ismene (Ismene festalis) and calla lilies (Zantedeschia cvs.) soon – the calla lilies are slightly more tolerant of cool weather.
Oddly enough, at least one of the three potted dahlias is still going strong. I could just dig them up and cut all the growth off, but letting dahlias get hit by a light frost sends the plants a clear signal to pack it in for the year. Trying to force them into dormancy sometimes has…unwanted results when you least expect them.
Anyway, most of the things that will come indoors are indoors now. All that’s left are the things that will go into in the garage, and the weather is still mild enough that most of the hardy things are still alive. The biggest single job plant-wise now will be to take the aquatic plants out of the tub ponds, bag them up, then empty the tubs and stow everything. I also need to empty the rainbarrels and bring them in, and bring the worm bin from the garage into the house. Later I need to mound and burlap the roses, and finish wrapping the vine arbour with chicken wire so the [insert curse words of choice here] rabbits don’t chew down the new grape vine. Again.
I had wanted to try winter rye (Secale cereale) as a cover crop on the vegetable bed this year. Unfortunately, because I was only able to get around to clearing the vegetable bed out yesterday, I doubt there’s enough time and warmth for the rye to sprout and grow. I’ll try it anyway, but I’m not optimistic (not that I ever am).
Let’s see…oh, one more pointless addition to this already-rambling post. I wonder if it was the unusally hot, dry summer, but the blue jays (Cyanocitta cristata) were different this year too. There’s a family of blue jays that passes through here at the end of every summer; they usually stick around for a couple weeks and then push off. I’m not terribly fond of blue jays – they’re noisy (they don’t even sing, they just squawk), they’re greedy and they tend to chase off the other birds. This year they turned up about two weeks early and stuck around for a month. It’s enough to make one think about investing in a slingshot.